Steelhead Zinfandel – 2007

Trader Joe’s bypasses the usual subterfuge on this one – you don’t even have to read the fine print on the back of the bottle to know this is actually a product of well-respected Sonoma bio-dynamic winery Quivira Vineyards. TJ’s is selling this second label offering for $6.99.

A couple of things strike me about this wine. One, it’s no soft and round cheapie – this is a pretty big wine with a lot of backbone. The tannins make their presence felt early and throughout, and with this structure I imagine this $7 wine could easily improve for 2-3 years at least. Still at that, it’s pretty civilized for a Dry Creek Zin – a virtual teetotaler at 13.8 ABV, what dominates both the nose and the initial impression is pepper. This is a spicy wine, with some nice dark fruit – blackberry? Definitely the sweet-tart, earthy quality of black fruit. The finish is moderately short, with the lasting impression the spice and a hint of woodiness. The wine is well-served by a half-hour or so of oxygenation to tame the tannins a little bit. I’d pair it with barbecue or pizza – the usual Zin suspects would work great here, and the modest alcohol content definitely gives the wine an even more food-friendly aspect.


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